Islamic art in the medieval world
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: VB257
Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)
What is the course about?
The aim of this course is to provide you with an easy-to-digest roadmap of the complex geo-political and historical landscape in which Islamic art developed, focussing on artistic output under key patrons and dynasties.
The eclectic language of Islamic design can be broadly defined by the use of sophisticated surface geometry, intricate scrolling and vegetal devices, stylized calligraphy, and the judicious use of figurative elements where appropriate. But there are great variations in its development and interpretation, determined by geography, history and patronage.
In this course we will examine significant influences that went into the formation and evolution of the arts of the Muslim world as it rapidly expanded from the 7th century onwards. We will look at the role of power, politics and patronage as well as ideology during the Medieval and Early Modern periods, and how the assimilation of influences from the Classical world, Byzantium, Persia, Central Asia, and China helped to shape the visual language that characterizes Islamic Art.
We will explore how under the influence of key patrons in history, this common visual language encompassed a wide range of media. We will look at aesthetic and technical developments in the principle disciplines of architecture and the arts of the book, and also at a range of decorative arts including metalware, ceramics, glass and textiles.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The history, geography and development of the Islamic world
- Patrons who made a significant contribution to the development of Islamic art.
- Geometry, vegetal and figurative design across different media.
- Libraries and the arts of the book.
- Architectural design.
- Other decorative arts.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Give examples of the context and influences that gave rise to Islamic Art
- Name some of the key Islamic dynasties with the main features of their art
- Explain some of the techniques used in Islamic design.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for all levels.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught online with slide presentations and group discussions.There will also be sessions on some of the technical advances that helped shape Islamic art, and opportunities to learn by doing some analytical drawing and note-taking.
You will be provided with handouts containing key reference information, including recommended reading lists. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally for download, not printed out for you.
Work outside the class is not compulsory; the learning experiences and resources provided in this course are intended to inspire and encourage further study if you so wish.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
A notebook, journal or sketchbook and pencils. You might wish to buy some of the books on the recommended reading lists given out in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might also be interested in:
VB438 - Arts of the Empire Builders: Timurids, Safavids and Mughals.
Anita Chowdry is a London based visual artist, educator and researcher. Her particular interest is in the arts of the Islamic World and South Asia, and the materials and processes that went into them. She has an M.A. in Art and Science from Central Saint Martin’s UAL, and is currently engaged in the codicological study of a group of 15th Century Turcoman manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Anita has over 30 years’ experience teaching art and process to adults and professional groups, covering major institutions in the UK and abroad.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.